Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Smallville Season Nine: What I'd Like To See

Last season of Smallville ended on a rather disappointing low for me, in what was an otherwise surprisingly stellar season. While the new showrunners managed to overcome losing the much praised Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor and extreme budget cuts by finally progressing Clark’s character and story and introducing a dark and tragic human side to the Doomsday storyline, the final episode of the eighth season managed to destroy all that in a single night. The season finale, appropriately titled “Doomsday”, threw Clark’s progress backwards and in more ways than one undid what made the Doomsday storyline so tragic. Add in the death and ‘twist’ behind it that was more stupid and enraging than clever, and one of Smallville’s best seasons ended on an extremely bad note with one of the worst episodes of the entire series.

As comic con 2009 approaches, Smallville will once again be returning with showrunners Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson joining cast members Erica Durance (Lois Lane), Cassidy Freeman (Tess Mercer), Justin Hartley (Oliver Queen/Green Arrow), and the newest addition to the team, British actor Callum Blue, who will be playing the villainous General Zod for the ninth season. However before the major announcements, footage, and spoilers finally make their way to the fans, I’d like to take the time to quickly share what I hope to see in terms of character and story for the shows ninth and hopefully final season.

10. Returning/New DC Comics Heroes/Villains
Smallville has introduced several DC comics characters over the course of its 8 seasons and, in my opinion, have resulted in some of the best episodes of the series. While they usually have a unique Smallville spin to them, Green Arrow, The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, Martian Manhunter, Black Canary, Zatanna and Brainiac, played brilliantly by James Marsters, have at their core remained true to their comic book counterparts and become favourites amongst the fans. With an appearance by the villain Metallo (played by Brian Austin Green) being a step in the right direction, I personally hope for a return of all the Justice League members, some old and new Legion of Superheroes members, and some fresh faces in perhaps the form of The Question…or maybe even Wonder Woman?

9. Martha Kent
In Smallville’s sixth season, Annette O’Toole’s contract expired, and feeling that her characters role in Clark’s life had in some capacity diminished, Annette opted not to return. Most fans will agree that Jonathan Kent provided Clark with knowledge and wisdom, while Martha taught him about feelings and matters of the heart. Since her departure Martha has been mentioned maybe 5 times, and very few of those times by her own son. Even if it’s just for one episode, a return appearance by Annette O’Toole would be something greatly appreciated.

8. Kara Zor-El (a.ka Supergirl)
In spite of promises by former showrunners Alfred Gough and Miles Millar that Laura Vandervoort would continue her role as Kara in a potential eighth season, Laura Vandervoort was not invited back after the seventh season ended and made one appearance in season 8 to wrap up her characters cliffhanger. Before people assume I want her back as eye candy, let me correct you. As an adopted child, I immediately connected to the idea of Clark Kent, an alien raised by humans, finding a biological cousin. We we’re promised a brother/sister type of relationship between the two characters, and while that was present it was unfortunately overshadowed by Kara constantly disappearing. I want to see their relationship develop over the course of at least more than two episodes, preferably with Vandervoort as a series regular, so Clark can have blood relative and link to his heritage…and more importantly someone to pass the lessons his parents taught him onto.

7. Increase The Number of Episodes for The Other Cast Members
With the exception of Tom Welling and Allison Mack, no cast member appeared in more than 13 episodes of the 22 episode eighth season. It made for very long gaps between character appearances that almost made us forget they were still part of the show. Only a few more episodes for Cassidy, Justin, and Erica are what I ask for. They are great actors and deserve more significant roles than near guest stars. I understand budget can be an issue…which brings me to my next issue.

6. Increase the Budget!
When Smallville moved over to the CW network, it faced massive budget cuts as most shows did…and the trimming continued as the piece of shit network focused on shows aimed more to the teenage girl demographics. While Smallville has remained true to its story elements, it’s frustrating to see where the budget has been cut. From Clark barely using X-Ray or Heat vision, or his superspeeding taking place off screen, to Metropolis consisting of one street…it’s hard not to shake your head when you remember the glory of the visuals of earlier seasons. Also take into account great guest appearances, great music, and more time being spent outdoors instead of on sets, and Smallville definitely deserves its money back from Gossip Girl. Treat your #1 show right CW! Smallville and Supernatural FTW!

5. Phil Morris as a Series Regular
Phil Morris made his first appearance as the infamous DC Comics hero, The Martian Manhunter, in Smallville’s sixth season and has made a few welcomed and much loved appearances since then. However in spite of the CW’s apparent insistence on keeping the cast young and fresh, it’s time for Morris to take his much deserved place amongst the regular cast members. Clark needs advice from someone more experienced than Chloe or Lois, and Phil’s great performance and enthusiasm for the show would be a welcomed addition to the series.

4. Oliver Queen/Green Arrow To Have A Significant And ‘Good’ Arc
When the producers finally added Justin Hartley to the main cast as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow in season 8, excitement filled the air. Unfortunately, aside from a heroic role in the season premiere, Oliver then became a whiney drunk, spent most of the year trying to bang Tess Mercer, and when he finally got a story arc going…it resulted in him being a douchebag. I truly feel they wasted an opportunity with Justin last year. Spoilers for the ninth season unfortunately indicate that Oliver will be heading down the drinking road again. One episode of the shows eighth season showed just how much of an affective team Clark and Oliver can make if they work together. I want to see more of that and see Oliver step back into the role of the noble and selfless leader of the JLA he initially was. Yes, some womanizing is fine as that is part of his character, but a storyline focused on progressing his character and his role in Clark’s transformation into the Man of Steel should be the focus.

3. The Return of Lex Luthor…Rosenbaum Style (Major Spoilers For Those Who Have Not Seen Season 8)

In spite of Michael Rosenbaum’s seven season long amazing performance as Superman’s future arch enemy, Lex Luthor, coming to an end with Lex ‘disappearing’, one particular episode of Smallville’s eighth season teased fans with the cliffhanger that not only was Lex still alive…but he was watching our heroes from afar. Unfortunately, not only was the characters return not under the brilliant performance of Michael, but Lex’s role in the season seemed rushed and ultimately when it came to its conclusion…seemed pointless. I want Lex Luthor to return with Michael Rosenbaum and for the character to play a more significant role than he did last year. In addition to some potentially great scenes with Cassidy Freeman (whose character took over Lex’s business), should this be the shows final season, an appearance by Rosenbaum would be most appropriate.

2. BruceWayne/Batman
For years fans have asked when will the young Man of Steel meet the young Dark Knight? Each time the same answer has been given: Warner Bros. wants to keep the film and television adaptations of their superheroes separate…thus there is a restriction on being able to use Batman. I’m sorry, but the fact that Superman Returns can exist while a young Superman television series is airing makes that argument the most hypocritical answer to give. DC Comics and Warner Bros. must take us for morons, as we are quite capable of being able to distinguish the differences between the film and television adaptations. This excuse will not fly anymore in my books. Friend and fellow Smallville fan Cody (CaptainJackHarkness4) brought up the fact that they could have Bruce Wayne arrive to make a business deal with fellow billionaire Oliver Queen. The opportunity is there! The ratings would skyrocket! The chance to have one of few (if not the only?) live action meeting between two of the greatest comic book heroes is there! I want to see two allies who fight for the same thing, but take vastly different approaches to it through different motivations, meet for what would make an amazing episode of Smallville.

1. Clark To Enjoy Himself, Not To Be Moody, and Progress Further
Clark is always blaming himself for everything that goes wrong on the show, even the things obviously out of his control. I want this to stop. It was normal and expected at first, however after at least three seasons of it, I want to see Clark accept that things go bad and try to make it better rather than blame himself for it. That’s the inspiring Man of Steel that should be developing. Clark used to laugh, hang out with friends, and even joke around. While I understand that as he grows older and his destiny approaches faster and faster, more responsibility and harder times are unavoidable, time should still be made for fun. Let Clark enjoy himself and laugh instead of ALWAYS worrying or being serious. Finally, don’t regress Clark back to the brooding man he once was. Season 8 was a massive step in the right direction by having him actively fight crime in Metropolis and join the Daily Planet, however the season ended with him taking a huge step backwards. I want him to move forward and for the producers to remember that while all the other characters are great, the main story has always been Clark’s journey TOWARDS being the greatest hero of all time.

After the fiasco that was Smallville’s Season 8 finale, I was somewhat bitter towards my favourite show letting me down. Hopefully Smallville season 9 will fulfill at least some of my wishes and get itself back on my good side. As new announcements and footage are sure to follow Comic Con 09, I cautiously look forward to the ninth Season.

Bonus: I hope this will be the final season. Smallville has reached its peak, with most DC Comics characters having a strong presence in the series and most of the action taking place in Metropolis…there’s not much left for Clark to do before he becomes Superman. Knowing ahead of time that this will be the last year for the show will allow the producers to plan ahead and properly wrap up all the storylines instead of rushing at the last minute and making a huge mess of things. Giving the loyal fans the conclusion they’ve been waiting for.

Also, Cassidy Freeman in less clothing next year would be nice as well;)

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed

1 comment:

  1. Great summary of Smallvilles eight season my brown and super-smart friend :D ;)

    //24 year old Magnus from Sweden